Let’s talk about food, shall we?
It’s been several weeks since we came back from our Europe adventures, and I think what I miss most at this point is the food. So, I thought I’d give you all a little taste of Switzerland and Italy.
Today, I’m going to talk about the most important meal of the day: breakfast.
The Swiss get breakfast, the Italians, not so much.
Here we have a lovely Swiss breakfast, courtesy of my friends Chris and Chari. You’ll notice that there are a ton of things on the table to choose from. (By the way, I’m holding my friends’ son Sven. Isn’t he a cutie? Looks like he’s getting very interested in that solid food.) On my plate, you’ll see “gipfeli,” a Swiss croissant. We also have a variety of different Swiss cheeses to eat, which obviously don’t always come with holes! There’s also cold cuts, yogurt, and (off screen) soft boiled eggs.
The eggs deserve a paragraph of their own. Swiss people love to eat their eggs soft boiled, which means “pain in the butt to eat.” But, as you might expect, those innovative Swiss have come up with a way to make even the most notoriously difficult egg eating experience a lot easier. See the video for my demonstration of how to use a Swiss egg cracker (Chris calls it the “egg killer”). It sort of reminds me of a guillotine, but it does the job. Once the egg is opened, the Swiss sprinkle their own unique seasoning on it, which is called Aromat. It has lots of herbs in it, in addition to a fair share of MSG.
I haven’t mentioned müeseli, which I devoted another post to when we were last in Switzerland. You can read all about that delightful breakfast food here.
After a week of eating these kinds of breakfasts, you can imagine our dismay when we got to Italy and discovered that breakfasts there aren’t exactly exotic or nutritious. The typical Italian breakfast consists of a shot of espresso with tons of sugar or a cappuccino, both drank while standing up at a bar. Sometimes, Italians will add a plain roll to it, giving the meal a little more substance.
It took me a couple weeks of eating this way, but I finally figured out why most Italians don’t eat much for breakfast…they eat so much, so late at night! I’ll discuss their dinner habits in another post, but for now, keep in mind that if you consume three or four huge courses at 10:00 p.m., a big breakfast isn’t too attractive in the morning. I could never adapt to this way of eating.
In this picture (I think Dan caught me mid bite), I’m in Tuscany, eating breakfast in the farmhouse dining room. The owner liked to give a more deluxe breakfast, which still includes typical Italian foods. It’s just a bit more elaborate than you’d find in most Italian homes. To the rolls and coffee, she added yogurt and juice. I loved how she warmed the rolls, often a croissant and a soft white roll, and presented them in a colorful domed tray. And my absolute favorite part about the breakfast was the Nutella for the rolls. I savored that stuff at every single breakfast while we were there. Then I bought my own jar to travel with.
Another thing to note about the home style Italian breakfast is that coffee is prepared in a moka pot. You’ve probably seen these things before. They have been around since the 1930s, when Bialetti created the design. They come in all sizes, from one serving to 30. And they create a very strong coffee for espresso that is excellent with a generous amount of warmed milk. I bought a single shot version at a flea market for 3 euros, and it’s great for when only one of us wants a cup of coffee.
And I have another video for you. It’s me, giving the official tour de breakfast, with a cameo from the owner, Allesandra. Once again, please excuse the shoddy camera work and my early morning mumbling! After all, I hadn’t had my coffee yet!